Analysis: Stan Robinson comes up big

Stanford Robinson hadn't done a lot in the first 16 games of the season. That changed Tuesday night when he came off the bench to score 12 points including hitting all six of his free throws in IU's 76-73 win over Penn State.

I’ll be the first to admit I had not been overly impressed with Stanford Robinson through the first 16 games of the season.

I just questioned what he was bringing to the lineup. He was shooting 32 percent from the field. He had missed all eight of his 3-point attempts. And he was shooting 45.7 percent at the free throw line after going back and forth between shooting with his right hand or his left hand.

But Tuesday night Robinson looked a lot more like the player who scored in double figures in seven games in Big Ten play last year as a freshman.

Tuesday night against Penn State, Robinson came off the bench to score a season-high 12 points. He made 3-of-6 shots from the field and did a nice job driving to the basket like he did a year ago. Perhaps even more importantly he got to the foul line six times and he made them all. All with his dominant left hand, too.

And in 17 minutes on the floor, Robinson did not make a single turnover.

Probably most importantly, he did all of this on a night when Indiana really needed his services. IU won the game 76-73 over Penn State but much like the Ohio State game, it really needed a spark from someone off the bench.

Against Ohio State, those players were Collin Hartman and Nick Zeisloft. Tuesday night, it was Robinson and walk-on Ryan Burton.

It was good to see.

Indiana is going to have times when it could use some veteran leadership off the bench. Robinson could be just the person to provide it. I’m not saying he should be in the starting lineup or challenging anyone in particular for minutes.

But when Robinson plays like he did Tuesday night against Penn State, the one thing that was clear is that Tom Crean needs to find a way to get him minutes.

When he plays like that, he’s a contributor that IU needs. When he plays like he did against the Nittany Lions, Robinson is the Energizer Bunny all over again.

Again, it’s only one game. It would be good to see Robinson duplicate this effort a few more times before I’m ready to crown his achievement as more than a one-game spurt.

But it’s something to build on. It’s a start.

And it’s clearly a start that both Indiana basketball and Robinson really needed.

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